Countdown to Bug’s Book Birthday!

My new picture book, Bug, won’t be released until April 2, 2019, but Jeep got his author’s copy yesterday! He gave it two paws up. Meanwhile, I’m working on a book trailer for it, and will announce that and more about how Bug came to be when we get closer to the publication date. Here’s…

Nature-Inspired Writing Innovations

As a kid, I was happiest poking around in nature. My mom had created a huge rock garden using native plants that she found (stole) in the surrounding Hammond Woods. By the time I was growing up, her garden was about all that was left of many of the plants that had grown wild before…

Seven Years of Mostly Good Memories

2019 marks seven years since I stepped down as the SCBWI Oregon Regional Advisor, a volunteer job I held for 18 years. Today I let go the records I was entrusted with to keep for seven years (IRS requirements). It all went up in smoke in the paper bonfire we set almost every New Year’s…

Building a Wood-Framed Panelized Yurt: the book

We have a book! Actually, we have two books. Links to purchase them are below. Color printing costs were high on a 176 page book, so we also published a black and white version. The price is about 40% less than the color version, and the photos are clear enough to illustrate the task at…

Keeping busy during the off-season.

This summer I had two book projects to complete for Rourke Educational Media, then as often happens in summer, that was it until fall work comes in. But it ain’t quittin’ time! The writing life can be sporadic when it comes to paying work, but that doesn’t mean writers should just stop writing. If we…

Farewell to our Matriarch

My Aunt Louise, or Flo, aka Fanny Farkle, left the planet last month after breaking her hip and then developing an infection while in the hospital. We’re all very sad to lose her at the ripe old age of 96, but at least she kept her sense of humor until the end. One of the…

When to give up on a story.

Writers love their stories. It can be a love-hate thing throughout the writing process, but when a writer reaches the end and declares the story is done, they are hopelessly in love with it. Does anyone remember the intro scene from Romancing the Stone, when the sobbing Joan Wilder types in the final scene in…

Changing with the times – how I stayed published.

This piece is from the May 2006 issue of our local electrical coop’s Ruralite Magazine. I interviewed myself actually, and was very easy to talk to. I also took the photos, hence the cut off head. The gist of the interview was how we creative types struggle in our careers. Getting published doesn’t mean we’ll…

Families torn by a mean regime.

My 96-year old aunt has been a dyed-in-the wool Republican for as long as she knew there was a choice. She worked for the party when she was young, and after retiring, she volunteered for them again. My aunt’s incredible knowledge and recall of American history can make it interesting to talk politics with her,…

DIY Picture Book Query Letters

When it comes to picture book submissions, editors and agents nearly always ask for the entire text. For novels and nonfiction, they generally ask for a synopsis, the first three chapters, and/or a proposal and outline. It’s a no-brainer that one should write a query for novels or nonfiction to get the prospective publisher interested…